Friday, December 26, 2003

Christmas was good yesterday. All the kids liked their presents and thought that they had gotten more than they had asked for (I asked them). It was really a joy to watch the innocence and fun they have. It was also nice to see that they were just as excited to watch us open our gifts as they were when opening their own. The amount of toys we now have in this house is ridiculous. We are going to have the kids go through their stuff and decide what to donate to charity. It may be hard to do this, but it will teach them two things: you don't need so many toys and it feels good to give things to people that are not as fortunate as yourself.

We went to the clinic today to get bloodwork done. WBC still up at 11,000, Hemoglobin 10.6, Platelets at 146,000 all very good. His counts are probably still declining, but at this point they are higher than I thought they would be. Maybe this means no hospital stay with fever this time.

Emily came with us to the clinic since she didn't have school. The two of them spent most of the time there playing with the sand table. It is a table that has little magnetic vehicles under glass with some sand under them. You control them with magnets under the table. It is a great toy that they always love to play with, and it is so simple.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Well, chemo #11 down, 3 to go! We did this treatment as an outpatient. We went to the clinic at 9:30 this morning and left at 5:30 PM. His counts were good, WBC 22,000, Hemoglobin 12, Platelets 136,000. We were a bit delayed in getting started because we had to wait for his urine specific gravity to reach the right value. You really have to be hydrated to get the cytoxan. We started treatment at 12:30 PM, but had to wait until hour 4 (4:30 PM) to get the MESNA (the drug to help protect his bladder from the cytoxan). He was supposed to get another IV MESNA at 8:30 PM, but we were not going to stay there and neither was the staff. They gave us the oral version of MESNA and we mixed it in apple juice at 8:30. Anthony did not really want to take it, as usual, but we forced him to drink it.

The clinic was pretty quiet today. We brought presents for all of the regular nurses. Maria also made a tray of cookies. It was gone within about 2 hours. Anthony gave Dr. Pan a tray of nuts and wanted me to tell him the we gave him nuts because he is nuts. One of the nurses, Diane, took us on a tour of the rest of the Cancer Institute. Anthony liked seeing the loading dock, of all things. Anthony also got lots of Christmas presents, from Nicole the Child Life specialist, to bring home for himself, Emily, and Sarah. We will be going to the hospital party tomorrow where the kids will get more gifts.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Another clinic visit today. This time Anthony was able to get a platelet transfusion. His counts were: WBC 900, hemoglobin 12.2!, platelets 9,000. So his WBC is climbing and the whole blood transfusion really boosted his hemoglobin. Now we just have to continue the sub-q GCSF shots until next Wednesday. Personally, I think we should stop Monday or Tuesday, since he is already at 900, but we'll see. If he starts complaining about bone pain, we'll stop.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Today was a clinic day. Counts are: WBC 200, Hemoglobin 7.4, Platelets 13,000. They gave Anthony a whole-blood transfusion today since he has been kind of miserable. He really needs a platelet transfusion, but there is a severe shortage so they didn't give him one since he is asymptomatic. He will have to go back on Thursday to check his platelet level again. He may get a platelet transfusion then, if they have any on-hand.

Here's some good news: no more doxorubicin! The roadmap for surgery-only patients (as opposed to patients getting radiation) says that doxorubicin is given only until the 9th cycle. This is because it is not given for 2 cycles in the middle of the treatment schedule to patients getting radiation, since it exacerbates the side effects of the radiation. For surgery-only patients it is given up until the 9th cycle, then removed. He now only gets Vincristine and Cytoxan (cyclophosfamide) during cycles 11 and 13. The even better news is that those two drugs can be given while he is an outpatient in the clinic. All this means that he will only have to be admitted 2 more times for cycles 12 and 14 (baring any fevers).

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Chemo #10 is finished! We just got back home today around 5:30 PM. This morning, his WBC was 1,700, platelets were 168,000, and hemoglobin was 7.7. We decided to get a whole blood transfusion today, which is why we came home later than expected. Last time his hemoglobin was at that level, he was miserable and tired. I don't think he could have lasted until the clinic visit next Tuesday without having to go back for a transfusion, so we did it after his last Mesna (rescue drug for his bladder lining).

Anthony had a good time in the hospital this treatment and didn't complain too much about nausea. He threw-up a couple of times but was fine afterwards. Maria stayed with him the first three days, I stayed the last three. He was a bit bored, since Peggy wasn't there until today, but he made up for it today. When Peggy came in, we went down to the basement store-room to get the Christmas tree and some new toys for the playroom. We put-up the Christmas tree and made some decorations. It's funny, but the only time Anthony likes doing arts and crafts is in the hospital.

While I was eating my lunch, Anthony played some video games with one of the teachers, John. He is a young guy, just out of college and is actually good at these games. Anthony still beat him 4 times at "Mario Kart", though. When I came back, John said "I hope you realize how much musical ability Anthony has." While playing the game, Anthony would hum along with the songs and would be right on key. I took this as a compliment, since John majored in music and math in college, but it didn't surprise me. Both Emily and Anthony have been able to hum the correct tunes for songs since they were babies; Sarah is following right in their footsteps.